New York, NY – Today, Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, president and co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity (CPE), released the following statement regarding the verdict in the murder trial of the People v. Jason Van Dyke:
“Laquan McDonald was shot and killed by Officer Jason Van Dyke four years ago. Different accounts of the incident led to differing opinions, but video ended reasonable debate: Laquan was walking away, presenting no threat to the officer.
“So today’s decision was a long time coming. Not just for the people of Chicago, but for people across the country who care about the dignity of human life.
“Public safety is a delicate relationship – it begins with trust in the law and not fear of it. But trust will never be established between police and communities if injustice is common and accountability is rare.
“While this decision does not make up for the pain and anguish experienced by the McDonald family and communities throughout Chicago, it is a step towards something like right. The hurt remains. The work continues. But there is one less tragedy left ignored tonight. And that is something.”
Media Contact: Lauren E. Williams; firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK, NY – Body-worn cameras do not increase trust between police and community according to a June study published in the Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work. The study, which interviewed a sample of 68 Black residents in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray in 2015, found that Black residents are unimpressed by body-worn camera initiatives; can be traumatized by the constant violent reminders that the footage often brings; and feel like they are in a “special kind of hell” when faced with the perceived inaction following even the most damning of camera footage evidence. In the wake of the recent use of force on DaShawn McGrier, the resignation of the involved officer, and frequent reports of concerns within the Baltimore Police Department, the results of this study should inform race relations, police reform and training, police policy, and the future of law enforcement technology.
“Body-worn cameras have been touted as a much-needed remedy to address police misconduct and improve accountability to hopefully bring police and community together. Our research, however, suggests that using body-worn cameras to promote these efforts may be misguided, and, worse, harmful to communities,” said Dr. Erin M. Kerrison, lead author of the study and Vice President of Research for the Center for Policing Equity.
Respondents were interviewed in June 2015. They were recruited from community events, grassroots rallies, and public meetings to provide a sample of participants deeply engaged in policing reform and concerned about the greater Baltimore community. Respondents were asked open-ended questions to describe their reaction to Freddie Gray’s death, the uprising that followed, and their overall interaction with Baltimore City police officers.
The breakdown of the respondents was as follows:
• 100% identified as Black or African American • 59% were women • 40% were employed full-time at the time of the interview • 51% reported making less than $10,000 per year • The median age was 48.5 years old
“We launched this study wanting to hear directly from Baltimore residents in the wake of Freddie Gray, and their concerns are loud and clear. They are tired of seeing camera footage. They often relive the initial trauma or hurt they experienced after seeing footage the first time. And, they don’t think camera footage is going to help improve policing,” said Kerrison. “Looking at our national script in response to viral police videos, this makes sense,” said Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, President and Co-Founder of the Center for Policing Equity. “Communities are hungry for actual accountability; it’s time for solutions and leadership to reform, rebuild, and re-establish trust. Body worn cameras have a role in policing, but it is important that we don’t inflate that role, overshadowing other reforms we know can make public safety better for everyone.”
Media Contact: Lauren E. Williams, email@example.com
(NEW YORK, NY) – Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, President and Co-Founder of the Center for Policing Equity, released the following statement in commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the shooting death of Michael Brown, Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri:
“Michael Brown Jr.‘s shooting death shook our nation. Not that we didn’t know that Black and Brown people were being shot by bad police officers and mistreated in the criminal justice system, but with every hour that his lifeless body lay in the Ferguson, Missouri sun, we felt a growing sense of dread that our disgust would turn to rage.
“While the response from political leaders eventually showed promise and funding began to flow toward reform, the progress seems to have stalled. Slowly but surely national attention has moved away from policing even as broader criminal justice reform continues. And, as we observe this fourth anniversary it is imperative that we shift that attention back to policing—and into full gear.
“The fire that was ignited four years ago for change still burns strong in communities too long ignored, and so must our focus on police reform. That means we must fund police reform, promote police reform, and make sure that police reform is never divorced from the larger efforts to align our criminal legal systems with our values—on this anniversary of tragedy and resistance, and on every other day.”
WASHINGTON, D.C – This month, more than 300 of the nation’s leading, reform-minded thought leaders met in Washington at the Center for Policing Equity’s 2018 Biennial Convening, Mapping the Science of Justice. With support from Google.org, the convening brought attendees together to discuss issues in their respective communities, highlight effective strategies and policies, and discover a new path forward toward justice.
The two-day event was held May 2nd – 3rd at Georgetown’s Fairmont Hotel. The convening provided opportunities for attendees to meet with those engaged in work in their area of criminal justice reform (community engagement, policing, courts, incarceration, and re-entry) as well as those operating in separate but overlapping areas, and discuss some of our country’s most pressing criminal justice issues together.
“For many it was the first time police chiefs, community activists, researchers, and policymakers sat and learned together. We wanted to make people uncomfortable—just a little,” said Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, president and cofounder of CPE. “Because there is no way we are solving the generational problems in front of us from the comfort of the silos we’ve worked in for the past several decades.”
New software created by Google engineers and CPE was also unveiled last week. The software, COMPSTAT for Justice, automatically cleans, audits, and standardizes police data—including stops and use of force—for departments across the country participating in CPE’s National Justice Database. The work builds upon Google’s three-year initiative to support criminal and racial justice through its platforms, technical expertise, and a $30M grant portfolio.
“Google is honored to be able to contribute to efforts to achieve equal justice through data science and technology,” said Maab Ibrahim, a program manager at Google.org, which is Google’s philanthropy. “We believe that the COMPSTAT for Justice will strengthen relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, and we are proud our engineers could dedicate their time to this effort.”
“By collecting a representative sample of police data, CPE and our partners will be able to provide the first national snapshot of how much (and if) police departments contribute to racially disparate outcomes.,” Dr. Goff continued. “From this benchmark, it will be possible to begin crafting national benchmarks—and collective goals—for reducing racial disparities at the front end of the criminal legal systems.”
The first state to pledge its full support of the database with CPE is Connecticut. The new partnership was announced during the convening.
“This partnership will allow for a systemic and data driven approach to address the tension between law enforcement and the citizens they serve,” Governor Dannel P. Malloy said. “It goes well beyond data collection to include analytics and customized solutions, giving police chiefs a significant tool toward being able to evaluate use of force and bias within their ranks. A robust and transparent analysis of data will continue to help our law enforcement agencies to become the more just and professional departments we always strive to be. Connecticut’s law enforcement agencies have continued to use data-informed strategies to reduce crime. That is one of the reasons our state has reduced the rate of violent crime more than any state in the nation over the last four years.”
To learn more about CPE’s Biennial Convening, COMPSTAT for Justice, or the National Justice Database, please follow #MSOJ2018 on Twitter or visit policingequity.org.
MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren E. Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK, NY – Today, Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, president and co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity, released the following statement on the Sterling Brown video release:
“‘Contempt of cop’ is neither illegal nor a reason for police use of force. However, in this situation, Milwaukee officers treated it as both.
“I urge our nation’s law enforcement leaders to step up and denounce these officers’ actions. Speaking in a shared language of justice amplifies our nation’s communal values and will help move us to a system that is much more just, honest, and equitable.
“The behavior displayed in this video is concerning – and should never happen. But it is not a true representation of law enforcement across the country.
“Now, more than ever, more law enforcement officials must say so.”
Lauren E. Williams
Connecticut Gov. Steps Up to Take Down Excessive Use of Force by Police Connecticut Makes Major announcement at D.C. National Convening of Criminal Justice Experts
WASHINGTON, D.C – Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy joins the Center for Policing Equity (CPE) on Wednesday, May 2nd to announce Connecticut as the first full state in the nation to make a state-wide commitment to reducing use of force and bias in law enforcement. Governor Malloy will encourage all police departments throughout Connecticut will provide data to CPE’s National Justice Database, the largest compilation of police data in the nation. Governor Malloy and Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, president and cofounder of CPE will be on hand to discuss the partnership and the first-of-its kind database.
Governor Dannel Malloy, Connecticut
Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, President and Cofounder, Center for Policing Equity
Police Chief John Gavallas Watertown, CT
*Three police chiefs from Connecticut will be in attendance
Wednesday, May 2, 2018; 12:30 pm -1:00pm
The Grand Ballroom, The Fairmont Hotel, 2401 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037 WHY:
Criminal justice and policing reform is often implemented on a municipal scale as a city response to negative police-community interactions. Broader action, however, is needed. Connecticut will be the first state to officially recognize the need for a systemic and data-driven approach to the tension between law enforcement and the citizens they serve by participating in the National Justice Database. Powered by Google, the NJD goes well beyond data collection to include analytics and customized solutions. The project brings police chiefs a significant step forward in being able to evaluate use of force and bias within their ranks and can help communities hold law enforcement accountable. HOW:
Your coverage is invited, but one-on-one interviews must be scheduled in advance. Instructions on parking and logistics will be sent with a media confirmation. Please contact Lauren E. Williams or Safiya Simmons at email@example.com with any immediate questions.
About the Center for Policing Equity The Center for Policing Equity is the nation’s leading think and action tank on racial justice and policing. In an era of political divisiveness and social unrest, CPE believes collaboration with law enforcement and communities is imperative. CPE has worked for 10 years to hold police and their communities accountable and build trust in cities and states across the country. By providing evidence-based analytic tools and up-to-date research, CPE’s work amplifies the need for a broader bipartisan movement for criminal justice reform.
Lauren E. Williams
NEW YORK, NY – Today, Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, president and cofounder of the Center for Policing Equity, released the following statement regarding the video footage released today of Alton Sterling’s 2016 shooting death:
“Anyone who cares about the loss of innocent life suffered two blows this week. One was dealt when the Louisiana State Attorney ruled not to prosecute the officers involved in the Alton Sterling case and the other when more video showing his tragic shooting death was released.
“People are angry all over again, and even more confused. By releasing these videos after deciding no officer will face legal consequences, the Baton Rouge community, and others, are being asked to relive the trauma of watching an innocent Black man’s life taken from him in a nation that too often has no remedy for that violence. What communities and police need most is a path forward, toward a more just future where these shootings and videos are shockingly rare—not traumatically familiar.
“There is no consolation—and no justice—to offer the family of Alton Sterling and the millions of families across the country who feel his loss personally. Still, we encourage the mayor, police chief, and community of Baton Rouge to continue working together.
“While these actions will not bring back the dead or prevent the past, there are evidence-informed practices to curve the momentum of our tragic history. And at moments like this, it is towards that long arc of history we must look for hope. Because watching footage like this and mourning the death of unarmed Black men and women never gets easier, but the way that we learn from them can.”
Lauren E. Williams
Center for Policing Equity Statement on the Fatal Shooting of Stephan Clark
NEW YORK, NY – Today, Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, president and co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity, released the following statement about the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Stephan Clark:
“Yet another young Black man with a bright future lost his life on Sunday at the hands of a police officer.
“Details are still being released, but one thing is clear – the community demands and should have answers. As the good people of the Sacramento Police Department already know, relationships in the criminal justice system are built by trust in it, not fear of it.
“I send my condolences to the family of Stephan Clark and pray for healing and more dialogue. These ugly incidents did not go away just because the nation stopped paying attention to them. And they will not go away in the dark.
“As many in the nation stand up to end gun violence and sexual harassment, so too must we do the hard work of democracy in the area of policing. Leaders in policing and communities must keep the lights shining on the work we have left to do in order to ensure that public safety serves the public safely.”
Center for Policing Equity Co-Founder Issues Statement on the Trump Administration’s Plan to Lift the Ban on Military Weapons Use By Law Enforcement
NEW YORK, NY – Today, Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, president and co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity, released the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s new Executive Order to lift the ban on the use of military weapons by law enforcement:
“President Trump’s new Executive Order sends the wrong message to communities across America.
“Thoughtful engagement and mutual respect are the core elements in creating and nurturing trust between communities and law enforcement. History has shown us this, and 2014’s unfortunate events in Ferguson underscored this truth: public trust cannot exist where the public feels besieged by an army.
“Police officers must have the right tools and resources to keep communities safe, but these resources shouldn’t be supplied at the expense of critical partnerships. When they are, these actions can alienate members of law enforcement and communities, possibly reversing social progress we’ve worked so hard to achieve.
“While evidence is mixed on how the use of military equipment influences police behavior, we do know that trust is not built through force. Public safety works best when it is built on a foundation of trust. As a nation, we should work to strengthen that trust – not weaken or destroy it.”
Center for Policing Equity Co-Founder Issues Statement in Response to
President Trump’s Policing Remarks
NEW YORK, NY — Today, Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, president and co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity, released the following statement in response to President Trump’s remarks delivered today in New York:
“Today’s statement by President Trump encourages communities to be less trusting of police by supporting police injustice. By suggesting that police punish ‘bad guys’ before they have even been tried in court, the President’s address implied a disrespect for the rule of law. The police chiefs and officers I’ve spoken to are disgusted, by the President’s statements — and the applause.
“Unchecked police force is not tough. It is not ‘manly’ and it does not reduce crime. What it does accomplish is to make crime victims less likely to call 911 for help because they fear how police will treat them. And when someone fears calling the police, it is not just a threat to their own safety, it is a threat to the safety of those they might otherwise have tried to help. If I am attacked on the street, I surely hope those who see it will feel safe calling the police to protect me. Today’s statements by the President are dangerous because they make that less likely.“Punitive force by any member of law enforcement is potentially a precursor to violence against the next officer encountering that individual. Excessive force dehumanizes all involved, both police and public.
‘The bottom line is this: We are all less safe when any of us does not trust the police. Police know this. We work hard with dedicated women and men in blue who commit their lives to earning the trust of neighborhoods long skeptical of police power. And with so many communities and law enforcement agencies trying so hard to improve trust and stem the tide of negative officer-involved incidents, the last thing anyone needs is their efforts being undermined by the nation’s Commander-in-Chief.”